Instagram is now the preferred platform to view influencer content (65%) compared to YouTube (3%), according to research by Rakuten Marketing.
The survey among 1,000 UK consumers and 200 marketers, found that 81% of consumers admit to following a link shared by an influencer. Another 26% said they spent over £500 on products that had been recommended by influencers.
At the same time, influencer marketing metrics have evolved and marketers are now more certain of whether a particular campaign drove sales (38%) than they were in 2017 (29%). Another three in ten marketers added that they were certain of how influencer fees were calculated.
The majority of consumers (97%) said they trust influencers as long as their brand relationships are properly disclosed. What’s more, 43% of respondents trust influencers to provide an honest view of a product or service being discussed, which highlights that not just marketers but also consumers are now placing a higher value on transparency.
However, the volume of content matters greatly for consumers. Although 62% of UK consumers discover new products and brands through influencers on a weekly basis, 31% would stop following a chosen influencer if too much of their content was promotional.
“Influencer marketing has come a long way and understanding from consumers, brands and influencers themselves has grown,” explained Anthony Capano, Managing Director EMEA at Rakuten Marketing.
“People increasingly appreciate the work and financial investment involved in making great daily content. However, this level of consumer savviness comes at a price: if influencers are promoting products that aren’t a natural fit, audiences will switch off. It’s about being authentic. Brands must prioritise partnering with influencers that align with their brand values. Influencers must prioritise promoting products that align with their own ‘brand’ or risk losing their audience.”
Diversity is key
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the study also found that consumers are now following a more diverse range of influencers from fashion (39%) to beauty specialists (43%).
With ever more influencers and micro-influencers joining the ranks, this has had an effect on the rate marketers are willing to pay.
According to a 2017 Rakuten study, marketers would pay over £75,000 for a single Facebook post by a celebrity influencer. In 2019, this has fallen to £25,000 per post. Interestingly, marketers are happy to pay similar amounts for micro-influencer posts.
These findings highlight that influencer marketing has become about more than just paying celebrities to publish branded content. Instead, brands are seeking to establish relationships with influencers for greater engagement and longevity.